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American College of Physicians on AHCA: “I’ve never seen a bill that will do more harm to health”

A brutal assessment from a major doctors group.

Health care provider groups — representatives of America’s doctors, hospitals, and other caregivers — have generally been critical of the Republican American Health Care Act, but in a fairly restrained way. Bob Doherty, senior vice president for government affairs at the American College of Physicians, the trade group for internists and the second-largest association of doctors in America, is taking a different approach on Twitter this morning, blasting the bill as the worst measure he’s seen in nearly 40 years of advocacy work.

Doherty warns of “thousands of preventable deaths” if the bill passes (which checks out), as 28 million people lose coverage. He also makes the point that the long-term health consequences of the bill could be even more severe, as older people who lose insurance coverage due to skyrocketing premiums “will put off getting care until diseases are at more advanced, less treatable, & costly stage.”

Polling on the Republican health bill appears to be disastrously bad, with Nate Silver saying it’s “hard to understate” the public’s level of support for the legislation. With key interest group players ranging from unenthusiastic to hostile, and the bill clearly short of the 50 votes it would need to pass the Senate, conventional thinking about legislating would urge the House Republican leadership to slow down and come up with something they can build more consensus around.

The plan, however, is to do just the opposite and attempt to rush through a do-or-die vote this week, in the hopes of basically tossing the hot potato to the Senate and letting them figure it out.


GOP health care plan: The more you need, the less you get